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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

MEAHS  TO  INDUCE CRIMINAL MISCARRIAGE                              33T

iot often produce the desired effect. On the other hand, the slightest
violence, such as the slipping of a foot, the fright of a cat or a dog or even
the sudden hearing of a noise, may cause miscarriage, especially in a woman
who is predisposed to abort.

A woman 7 who was three months pregnant, was awakened by the noise of a »eol-
Lision of a motor car with the wall of her house and aborted the next day. She and
her husband sued the motorist for damages. The doctor who attended the woman was
clearly of opinion that the shock resulting from hearing a noise was enough to cause
a miscarriage. The jury found a verdict for the plaintiffs. The husband recovered "what
he had paid on his wife's behalf and the wife was awarded £175.

Occasionally women are murdered to avoid further worry and disgrace.

On the 14th January 1911, the body of a Hindu female, about 30 years old, was
brought to the Agra Medical School Mortuary with a police report that she was found
in a well in title jurisdiction of the Aharan Police-Station. At the post-mortem exami-
nation a big, gaping incised wound was found across the back of the neck cutting the
third cervical vertebra and a twig of an arfrar plant, about 3" long, with some stuff
applied to one end was found lying in the os uteri. It appeared that an attempt was
first made to procure abortion, but she was then murdered, and then thrown into the
well.

Local.—The commonest method of procuring miscarriage is to rupture
the membranes by the introduction of an instrument, such as a uterine
sound, catheter? douche j^-m-mla^ knitting needle^ hair piii^ glass rod, etc.
into the""S'avity of the uterus. Owing toTEerupture 6F the membranes the
liquor arnnii flows away, and miscarriage frequently occurs from a few
hours to two or three days, but occasionally may not occur for days or
weeks. It is possible for a woman to pass a sound or other instrument into
her own uterus, but it is difficult and fraught with danger.

An unscrupulous woman who wishes to abort will visit a medical
practitioner either in his consulting room or in the outpatients* department
of a hospital and will get him to pass a sound by making a false statement
that she suffers from displacement of the uterus and that on previous
occasions it had beerTreplaced with tne aid of a uiferin'e sound. In such a
case the medical practitioner^hould never pass a uterine sound, unless he is
quite satisfied that his patient is not pregnant.

It is the usual practice of some abortionists to pass a sound into the
uterus and then to direct the woman to go to her medical attendant as soon
as pain and haemorrhage have started in the hope that the medical attendant
will treat her as a case of genuine abortion and will be held responsible for
the occurrence of any untoward accident. The medical practitioner must
always be on his guard in treating a iase of threatened, abortion and in a
doubtful case must consult another practitioner.

In India, the so-called Dhais or abortionists who mostly practise this
immoral and unlawful trade, introduce into the vagina or the os of the uterus
a thin wooden or bamboo st^ck, from five to eight inches long, which is
commonly1 knowBr~as~ alT11'abortion stick". This stick is wrapped round at
one end with cotton wool, dr~5Tpiece of rag, soaked with the juice of a mark-
ing nut, modar or euphorbium, or with a paste made of arsenious oxide,
arsenic sulphide, and red lead. Instead of this stick a twig of some irritant
plant, such as Calotropis gigantea (Jfod&r), Neriura odorum (Kauer),
Plumbago rosea (Lai CHtra) or Plumbago zeylanica (CMfcra) is also used.
The twig is frequently anointed ^ith asafoetida (Hing) before its
introduction.

In some cases, instead of an ** abortion stick " irritating juice is
applied to the os, or a rag, i& .the form of a tampon, saturated
imtating juice or paste, is introduced into the vagina.

7.   Lancet, Dec. 31, 193% p. I4S2,
22